Political activism never was my forte. While a youth, I was never stirred to protest a personal opinion or policy instated by a congressional representative. My sensitive regard to military aggression was not expressed when I felt that boundaries were overstepped. Nor were my concerns with the futures of others ever aired, despite my objections to how they inhumanely they may have been treated. Defensively, have I been privately supportive? Well, yes. I’ve met friends to discuss approaches to the dilemma at hand and have listened to the problem’s complexities, holding it out the way one holds a Rubix Cube to examine it for a solution. I’ve held loved ones’ hands in times of duress, pushing them to act bravely and decisively. And occasionally, there is a solution or action plan. Still, advocacy was never a strong suit.
This changed yesterday after an issue facing an aging generation of unmarried loved ones finally resonated within me.
Still Alice, Lisa Genova’s novel about a middle-aged mother diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, sounded the alert. Currently showing in local cineplexes with lead actress Julianne Moore as Alice, it shows the degeneration of a woman’s memory from a point of mere lapse to full-on infancy. And although I’ve little to no firsthand experience with anyone afflicted with such a devastating illness, I certainly feel compassion for those suffering and their families.
My latest concern occurred once the disease’s effect was held under new light. Considering it in relation to the aging population that is CYBILL UNION’s focus, I began to clearly see the problem that started growing apparent to others years ago. Select numbers within many generations of gay men and women have watched loved ones disappear behind such thieving veils of sickness. They have nursed them, kept them company, read to them, and talked with them while being stared at blankly, unrecognized. For readers who either endure or have endured this, you have my greatest sympathy. For others in its throes, you have my support. Oddly, though, what many may not have is the pleasure and security of betrothal to the person that’s disappearing while lying across from them. With only 72% of American states legally permitting gays to marry, they are neither spouses, civilly united couples, nor governmentally recognized pairs. Even if wed in a separate state beforehand, their statuses cannot be borne from state-to-state in the same fashion as heterosexual counterparts do after celebrating themselves with destination weddings. And although the institution of marriage is a religious rite and considerably sacramental, is it not disrespectful, even immoral, to not recognize their lifelong allegiance to each other?
Thus, yesterday I prepared a draft intended to be sent to the senators of the state in question. Perhaps it will be brushed off from the senators’ desks. Maybe it’ll stir a discussion within the chamber. Or I could get a neat response from an office intern, stamped with the senator’s signature in familiar Xeroxed form. No matter, I will at least have the satisfaction of having taken a first step to advocate for the ethical treatment of a largely unseen generation, as well as the knowledge that louder voices are ringing in the United States Supreme Court.
“Still Alice,” IMDB Website, Access Date 1/28/15 Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3316960/
Photo Credit by James Easton, Article by Jane Gross “Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice at Twilight,” The New York Times Website, Oct. 9, 2007. Access date 1/28/15 Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/us/09aged.html?oref=login&_r=0